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New firework laws in effect in Blaine for Fourth of July

This will be the first Fourth of July for new fireworks laws in Blaine, a popular spot to celebrate the holiday.

People living and working around Semiahmoo Spit had complained to city officials that people were leaving behind beer bottles, garbage and other debris from their Independence Day parties.

So last year the Blaine City Council banned fireworks west of Shintaffer Road, in public parks in the city, and in the area of Blaine Harbor.

In the rest of the east side of Blaine, it’s legal to shoot fireworks from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 1 to 5. The deadline goes to midnight on the Fourth.

The city hosts the Old Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration parade at 10 a.m., with a fireworks display in Blaine Marine Park at 10:15 p.m.

In recent years officials have tightened local laws on fireworks in the rest of Whatcom County. Here’s a refresher, as fireworks go on sale in the coming days:

▪  Personal fireworks are banned in Bellingham. Instead the Port of Bellingham and Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce will have a public fireworks show for the Haggen Family Fourth of July at Zuanich Point Park. The daylong event kicks off in the morning. The show starts at 10:30 p.m., or dusk.

▪ Legal fireworks can be set off from 9 a.m. to midnight on the Fourth of July in Ferndale, and no other time until New Year’s Eve.

▪  Outside of city limits, fireworks can be lit from 6 to 11 p.m. July 3 to 5. On July 4, it’s legal to set off fireworks until midnight.

▪  Note that unincorporated Whatcom County’s hours are different from the statewide hours set by the Washington state fire marshal. Under state standards it’s legal to set off fireworks starting at 9 a.m. on those days (and a few others), with the same 11 p.m. deadline. Lynden and Everson follow the same rules as the county. Many small cities, if they don’t have their own law, go by state law.

▪  Sky lanterns are regulated by state law, too. They must be tethered until extinguished. Otherwise, you can be arrested and charged with reckless burning if your lantern starts a fire.

▪  Tribal lands like the Lummi Reservation have their own fireworks codes. Lighting or even possessing certain explosives off the reservation – such as fire crackers, bottle rockets, rockets with fins and mortars larger than 1 ¾ inches in diameter – is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail. Pipe bombs, M-80s and modified fireworks are illegal everywhere.

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